Business norms and taboos
In Italy appointments are mandatory and should be made in writing 2 to 3 weeks in advance
Reconfirm the meeting by telephone or fax. Have all your printed material available in both English and Italian.Hire an interpreter if you are not fluent in Italian
It is common to be interrupted while speaking or for several people to speak at once. People often raise their voice to be heard over other speakers, not because they are angry.
The goal of the initial meeting is to develop a sense of respect and trust with your Italian business colleagues.Decisions are not reached in meetings. Meetings are meant for a free flow of ideas and to let everyone have their say.
Allow your Italian business colleagues to set the pace for your negotiations. Follow their lead as to when it is appropriate to move from social to business discussions. Italians prefer to do business with high-ranking people.
Hierarchy is the cornerstone of Italian business. Italians respect power and age. Negotiations are often extended. Never use high-pressure sales tactics. Always adhere to your verbal agreements. Failing to follow through on a commitment will destroy a business relationship.
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